ASTA has released the results of its Service Fee and Benchmarking Report, which shows a recent increase in travel agent service fee charges and the number of services for which agents charge professional fees. "An agent's ability to charge fees for their services illustrates their value to the travel industry," said Kathryn W. Sudeikis, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. "This research shows that consumers value travel agents' experience and are willing to pay for it, along with the convenience of not having to book travel on their own." In May 2005, 96.6 percent of ASTA agencies charged professional fees for some or all of their services. More than three out of four responding agents (79.4 percent) report that customers' willingness to pay service fees is greater for some services than for others. Hotel-only reservations are the services for which consumers are the least willing to pay a service charge, followed by car-only reservations and cruises. Airline-related services continue to top the list of services for which agencies most frequently apply service fees. For more details or to buy the report, visit [www.astanet.com/about/research.asp]. Cost is $25 for ASTA agent members; $250 for Allied members; $350 for non-members.
by Peggy Cope